Monday, December 1, 2008

well, I'm converted

or trying at least.

Mrs Beeton wrote her first book at the height of British Imperialism and smack bang in the middle of the Victorian era as well. Therefore it stands to reason that all her measurement are in the Imperial system. Not only Imperial, but quaint as well. Have you ever measured a teacupful of something? What about a breakfastcupful? (For future reference, a breakfast cup is about 1/2 a pint, and therefore about 1 metric cup)

And then, the next thing you have to remember is that a British pint (or quart or ounce) is different from the American. So, when I converted some things on Friday online, they're almost assuredly converted from American sizes, and therefore different from what is required.

I was discussing this problem with my parents when I went to visit them and help put up the Christmas tree. This sparked a geat hunt through every single recipe book in their house for conversion tables, which my father photocopied with great glee. Of particular help were the cookbooks printed in the 60s and 70s, which is when Australia converted from the Imperial to the Metric system.

So I now have the conversion table from the Nursing Mother's Cookbook, from the Dutch Cookbook, and one from Margaret Fulton's Cookbook, who was the Woman's Day Food Editor of the day, all carefully photocopied and stored in my cookbook cupboard. Therefore when I go to cook from Mrs Beeton, as I will be doing tonight, I will know exactly how much of everything I should cook.

Provided I can get my maths right... fingers crossed


atomicliving said...

oh no, here I was hoping that our american stubborness and refusal to let go of the standard measures would pay off, but u say that the american pint is not the same as the english imperial pint? well that is sad news indeed. Perhaps there is a conversion chart online.
My niece and I are always wanting to try to live a year as victorian women, but she has to work most days (so unless she were to live as a servant or a prostitute she really couldn't experience it properly) we wanted to live as middle class women of the time, but modern need for money stops us from this.

weenie_elise said...

you could also imagine that your niece works in a factory...maybe a cotton mill, which were great thriving industries for women and children labourers...